ABSTRACT:

Technology from the offshore wind industry, together with renewable power generation, have been used to revolutionise the design of offshore gas production platforms making them cheaper, safer and more environmentally friendly than previous designs. The Shell designed Monotower platform uses a wide diameter pile narrowing to a slim column that passes through the wave zone. Initial applications have been for 25–32 metres water depth. None of the platform components weigh more than 280 tons. Topsides weight is less than 200 tons. The Monotower functionality has been developed by application of a ‘zero based engineering’ approach. It comprises 4 well slots, fully welded topside piping, flowline metering, chokes and hydrate suppression chemical injection, plus the required navigational markings. The design incorporates renewable energy generation equipment, thus alleviating the cost and environmental impact of providing a subsea cable to power the platform. Two wind turbines and two arrays of solar panels together charge batteries to provide both contingency against low power generation periods and high peak loads. It generates zero CO2 emissions. Two platforms were installed in 2005 (Cutter in the UK and K17 in The Netherlands). The Monotower has now been adopted as the standard development option for shallow water satellite field developments in Shell's European business. Four new platforms will be installed in 2007 and additional platforms are planned. This Monotower platform design won the UK Energy Institute's Technology award in 2005

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